Blog 1801 Timmi Taubenschreck Neubau Eyewear 06

Follow photographer Timmi Taubenschreck and our glasses to Paris

Calling the hectic environment of fashion show's backstage areas his creative playground, photographer, fashion designer, and art director Timmi Taubenschreck is no stranger to vibrant, and at times even stressful, situations.

Togeth­er with his cre­ative part­ner pho­tog­ra­ph­er Detlef Honig­stein, Tim­mi thrives on this sense of imme­di­ate cre­ativ­i­ty – opposed to the ana­logue images the duo takes as Honigschreck”, which demand a fair amount of plan­ning and devel­op­ment. Based in Berlin, Tim­mi and Detlef reg­u­lar­ly trav­el to attend the world’s biggest fash­ion weeks, one of their lat­est trips bring­ing them to Paris last Sep­tem­ber, where they took along a set of neubau eye­wear glass­es. We asked Tim­mi all about his trav­els, his cre­ative process – and his excit­ing times spent backstage.

When and why did you first get inter­est­ed in pho­tog­ra­phy?
I have been tak­ing pic­tures for over 20 years now. I learnt from my father who used to have a sub­stan­tial col­lec­tion of cam­eras. He would take pho­tos and slides of his var­i­ous trav­els whilst con­tin­u­ous­ly explor­ing new cam­eras. My first cam­era was a Canon Janosch Tigerauge”.

You’re often work­ing with Detlef Honig­stein with whom you also form the pho­tog­ra­phy duo Honigschreck, how did you first meet?
We met in the fash­ion scene about six years ago. A styl­ist we both know put us in touch with each oth­er. I have actu­al­ly been doing fash­ion col­lec­tions since 2009. Togeth­er with Detlef I con­cep­tu­al­ized my look­books, devel­oped cam­paigns and worked on inde­pen­dent edi­to­ri­als. We soon came to real­ize that I did not have any authen­tic” back­stage pho­tos tak­en in any of my sev­en fash­ion shows. The pho­tos would always be pol­ished, glossy, high end, and beau­ti­ful but nev­er seemed to reflect the true sense of mag­ic found back­stage. We, how­ev­er, see the chaos and imper­fec­tion of back­stage in a dif­fer­ent light. We cap­tured these moments includ­ing all the mis­takes and devel­oped them into edi­to­ri­als which stand for them­selves. Our work can be described in one sen­tence: In our work we go for the per­fect atmos­phere over the per­fect look.”

How do the two of you man­age to suc­cess­ful­ly merge your dif­fer­ent cre­ative approach­es?
Our col­lab­o­ra­tion feeds off our dif­fer­ent strengths as well as weak­ness­es. We know exact­ly where our skills lie and com­bine the work­load accord­ing­ly for a uni­fied result. Using a com­bi­na­tion of ana­logue small for­mat images, polaroids, instant pic­tures (and soon Super8 video) is unique to our style. After each shoot­ing we throw our results togeth­er and fil­ter out a best of”. Here I would have to say that Detlef is respon­si­ble for bring­ing in the poet­ry. He takes his time and knows exact­ly which films are suit­able for which light­ing con­di­tions. He gen­er­ates play­ful moments and gets unique pos­es from the mod­els, break­ing through the con­ven­tion­al back­stage set­ting. I myself on the con­trary am respon­si­ble for cap­tur­ing spon­ta­neous moments. I con­cen­trate on details, fab­rics, shoes, or I help Detlef with more dif­fi­cult light­ing con­di­tions. My main respon­si­bil­i­ty, how­ev­er, lies in tak­ing the instan­ta­neous photos.

How much do these dif­fer­ent approach­es influ­ence each oth­er?
I am most­ly influ­enced by Detlef’s tech­ni­cal knowl­edge and image com­po­si­tion. He mas­ters the entire crafts­man­ship of ana­logue pho­tog­ra­phy and nev­er fails to impress me with the results. Some­times I fol­low Detlef’s exam­ple by using his tech­niques but apply­ing them in my own way. I believe I some­times sur­prise Detlef by pre­sent­ing new cam­eras that I have sourced for our team or by dis­cov­er­ing new labels that we need to fea­ture. Our work is a con­stant cycle of mutu­al inspi­ra­tion. Hav­ing said that, I have to admit that I some­times sim­ply enjoy the role as sidekick.

Blog 1801 Timmi Taubenschreck Neubau Eyewear 02
Blog 1801 Timmi Taubenschreck Neubau Eyewear 03

What is the best and what the most chal­leng­ing thing about work­ing togeth­er as a duo?
As a duo you form a stronger team. We both know that we would nev­er man­age a fash­ion week on our own. The prepa­ra­tion and the post pro­duc­tion espe­cial­ly needs to be done togeth­er. The great ben­e­fit is being able to share work as well as hav­ing com­plete trust in each oth­er. Most of the time I do the prepa­ra­tion for the fash­ion weeks – find­ing media part­ners, con­tact­ing design­ers and labels, reach­ing out to PR agen­cies, book­ing flights and putting togeth­er a timetable. In gen­er­al, mak­ing sure that the work pro­ceeds as stress free as pos­si­ble. Detlef ist most­ly involved in post pro­duc­tion by select­ing images and mak­ing sure they get sent out to press. Our skills are com­ple­men­tary and that is what defines us as #Honigschreck. A small dis­ad­van­tage could be that we don’t func­tion sep­a­rate­ly, espe­cial­ly dur­ing the fash­ion week. We only man­age to achieve the pho­to­graph­ic style and work­load togeth­er and we also share the pay­ment which oth­er pho­tog­ra­phers would earn alone. We divide the fee but offer a bet­ter end result.

With your own work, when do you feel the most cre­ative?
All my work is cre­ative. I am an inde­pen­dent fash­ion design­er, pho­tog­ra­ph­er and free­lance art direc­tor. I sim­ply com­bined the cre­ative fields I enjoyed work­ing in the most over the past ten years of my career. Cur­rent­ly I enjoy the work as a pho­tog­ra­ph­er the most. It has the same lev­el of crafts­man­ship as fash­ion design but offers more instant results. As art direc­tor I work togeth­er with oth­er pho­tog­ra­phers to eval­u­ate and select their imagery. Such col­lab­o­ra­tions inspire and allow me to grow cre­ative­ly. I some­times look at it as a kind of game and con­sid­er myself very lucky to be able to earn my liv­ing by work­ing in arts and crafts.

Blog 1801 Timmi Taubenschreck Neubau Eyewear 10
Blog 1801 Timmi Taubenschreck Neubau Eyewear 09

What inspired the shoot you did for neubau?
We com­bined our lat­est trip to Paris for back­stage jobs with the neubau” shoot­ing. We didn’t need a huge amount of prepa­ra­tion time or a big for­mal set­up. The spec­ta­cles were pho­tographed as they are: urban but clas­sic, time­less and casu­al. After a Haider Ack­er­man assign­ment we want­ed to shoot our two favourite spec­ta­cles. The back­stage shoot­ing had been rel­a­tive­ly tense but impor­tant as you don’t have the chance to work with such a great design­er on a dai­ly basis. We trans­ferred this excite­ment into the pho­to­shoot. Oth­er spec­ta­cles were shot in a more spon­ta­neous man­ner accord­ing to our mood; on the way to the pho­to­graph­ic lab­o­ra­to­ry or sim­ply in the stu­dio of fash­ion design­er Nobi Talai with whom we spent the time in Paris. The spec­ta­cles were our dai­ly com­pan­ions and had to be read­i­ly avail­able at any time. We also want­ed to show this in our images.

Blog 1801 Timmi Taubenschreck Neubau Eyewear 08
Blog 1801 Timmi Taubenschreck Neubau Eyewear 07

What makes pho­tograph­ing peo­ple and clothes back­stage so inter­est­ing to you?
It makes a big dif­fer­ence whether we plan our own edi­to­r­i­al or if we are work­ing back­stage on a show. Our back­stage shoot­ings are always unpre­dictable – we don’t know the set­ting or the light­ing con­di­tions in advance. We also don’t know the team and haven’t seen the col­lec­tion before­hand. We come to the set with­out know­ing what to expect and have to work with what is in front of us – we have had shows in which we had three hours to do our job and even one where we only had five min­utes. Five min­utes where every­thing has to be per­fect! For pho­tog­ra­phers who use dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy this isn’t a prob­lem. They can take up to 2000 images and will have great results in the end. We work exclu­sive­ly ana­logue and have only one chance to get the light­ing and the mod­els right whilst hav­ing to deal with the pres­sure and the lack of space. Ret­ro­spec­tive­ly, it was these pho­tos which turned out to be the best tak­en dur­ing Paris Fash­ion Week.

We delib­er­ate­ly chose ana­logue pho­tog­ra­phy and want to con­tin­ue using this medi­um in the fash­ion indus­try. We want to show mag­a­zines that we, as ana­logue pho­tog­ra­phers, can indeed live up to the stan­dards of our dig­i­tal coun­ter­parts. In spite of the time-con­sum­ing lab­o­ra­to­ry process­es need­ed in devel­op­ing films, prints and scans we are able to deliv­er the pho­tos in the same time­frame. We can cre­ate the same amount of work in great qual­i­ty but reveal an ana­logue touch which even with an app is impos­si­ble to achieve. The crafts­man­ship of ana­logue pho­tog­ra­phy is what makes the job inter­est­ing in the first place. We nev­er edit our images, don’t add fil­ters or adjust col­ors. In the end it doesn’t make a dif­fer­ence if we take pic­tures of fash­ion, mod­els, or cars. Although with cars we may not see the thrill as much.

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Blog 1801 Timmi Taubenschreck Neubau Eyewear 11

If you could do any shoot of your dreams, what would that shoot look like?
It was only in Jan­u­ary 2017 that we start­ed tak­ing the back­stage sto­ries and were dream­ing of work­ing with the estab­lished design­ers who show at Paris Fash­ion Week. Sud­den­ly, Paris in Sep­tem­ber 2017 was upon us and we had the chance to work with big clients such as Haider Ack­er­mann, Ann Demeule­meester and Chris­t­ian Wij­nants. We real­ized that it is more about get­ting into these big com­mis­sions rather than just dream­ing about them. We have already been booked for fash­ion weeks in Berlin, Paris and Milan for the begin­ning of 2018. Our dream is com­ing into being faster than expect­ed, because these are our dream shoot­ings: trav­el­ling the world and vis­it­ing fash­ion shows, to cap­ture the great­est back­stage moments.

And last­ly: If you could trav­el to any place to shoot next, which place would that be?
We have had the chance to shoot at many dif­fer­ent loca­tions: Venice, South Africa, Los Ange­les, Paris and Mar­rakesh. There are count­less places we would still like to go to for edi­to­r­i­al shoots how­ev­er our main skills lie with­in devel­op­ing back­stage sto­ries. What we have learnt from each loca­tion so far is: we hard­ly get to see any­thing from the city we are in AND back­stage all shows have the same charm!

Blog 1801 Honigschreck Neubaueyewear 5
Blog 1801 Timmi Taubenschreck Neubau Eyewear 01
03 Jan 2018 · neubau eyewear